The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday 29 September 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 30th September, 2016.

What a week! And today is the last day of September.
Thank you for all the comments and well wishes on Wednesday's post and via Facebook also. I usually reply properly to everyone but I think I have to give up as I am so far behind due to the storm and power outage. We came through it very well although overall our whole state didn't! More about that soon...

The first part of the week was pretty normal. Some of the ways I saved money and feathered my nest included:

I had repainted my dining room chars. I got these for $20 each years ago. I wanted them to look Shabby Chic but not too shabby...

I made Quiches with sundried tomato, spinach, onion etc. After all this I guess they are not really Quiche exactly but they are nice anyway.  I made one for Chloe to take home too.

I got some Vanilla Essence started for Christmas gifts. This will all go into little labelled bottles and then into some hamper gifts when it is ready. It is really fun shaking it everyday and seeing it get darker! 

The next part of the week wasn't so normal!  We had warnings that a big storm was coming. Now the weather reports are not terribly reliable so I view them with one eyebrow raised mostly. However the warnings were coming. Lesson 1. Listen to the warnings!
Anyway I did listen and started warning the girls. 

We have an action plan and this is the first time I really needed to use it. This was good and works if you get confused in a crisis. You consult the list! 
We had more than 24 hours to get ready. So in that time Andy started up the generator, we checked fuel supplies, I filled prescriptions, shopped, washed and dried everything and so on.
The warnings then intensified. 

The morning the storm was meant to hit I got out torches, candles etc plus tarps, plastic sheeting, making tape and so on. We were warned of very high winds and there is a big tree out the back...
As it got closer I used electricity for everything I could think of and boiled the kettle several times and filled a big thermo with coffee and another with tea. 
All this time I had my phone changing  plus iPad etc all fully charged. I messaged everyone to do the same.
I warmed up the house as much as I could and got out the battery operated radio.

Then the storm hit! Andy was working and still out on the streets. 
One worry was it is only two weeks since we had flooding around here and the ground is already soaked. So rivers and creeks were going to flood faster this time. 
The power went out soon after the storm hit.  
The WHOLE state lost all power. That is, size wise, for the US ladies... about the size of Texas plus the size of Kansas combined. No one had power.  I don't know of this ever happening before. 

I thought of Patsy as she has been running scenarios where you think of what you would do in various situations and plan your preparedness steps. Well, this was a real life one! I was about to test the preparedness we have been working on for almost two years now! 

Unbelievably just at the worst moment Andy's van broke down and he was stuck. Luckily this happened before a huge number of people were stranded later and he got help quite quickly. However he got home later without the car which went to the workshop. And as we found out as the evening went on some of our emergency supplies are in the van!  

We did some things right and some things wrong. So we learned a heap. 
The biggest thing  we did right was we knew our power supply is not reliable and we bought a generator. It was wonderful. It worked so well for us! 

Here's some of what we did wrong:
We expected our power outages to be in the summer if there's a heatwave. Thats when our state uses maximum power which we don't believe they will have. So we are more summer outage prepared than winter and it is wintery now even though we are in spring!

I had spare torches and lanterns that were new. They needed to be opened and started and two of them were painful with tiny instructions and one had screws and you had to take out the batteries and put them back in to make it work! All really annoying in a crisis so open things, read instructions and practice everything while you have time, light etc and avoid these aggravations!

What we did right:
We had plenty of light and  no worries about running out of things. We would be ok for weeks.
We had a lovely dinner cooked on the BBQ. It was crumbed chicken with carrots,  asparagus and garlic butter. 
While that cooked we had a big pot of water also on the BBQ.
That was poured into a big tub I bought and keep in the cellar. Its kind of the size of a baby bath.  Andy poured the hot water into it (I sat it inside the big bath) and I added a little bit of cold. I stood in that and gave myself a pretty good "shower" and wash. It was really good. I felt clean and happy. We repeated the process for Andy. After a long day that was much nicer than no shower!

We ran the generator for a couple of hours. We watched the TV updates and news and ran the fridge and freezer for a while.

Otherwise we listened to the battery radio. The station we listened to was wonderful. They helped everyone so much with updates, advice, calming words. At one point I felt that a battery radio is one of the most important things you can have in a crisis. We knew what was going on and what to do.

Overall we were fine.  We stayed dry and safe and off the road. We ate hot food and had coffee and tea until midnight from the thermos.

What I learned: (So much!)
Firstly within the first hour or two candles, matches, torches etc had sold out across the state  And stores closed early. People were yelling at supermarket staff desperate for these things. 
I think if people are yelling and desperate after two hours how would they be after two days or two weeks? 
Patsy said this too. She was affected by the fuel shortage in the south of USA. The gas stations had no fuel. After only one or two days people were very upset and abusive. This is scary. It makes you wonder how long it would take for things to become violent.

Public transport failed. Our trains are electric with no backup! 
Phones failed. Mobile phone towers use electricity and have LIMITED back up then they don't work!
Many hospitals had no power! Who knew you need to take a torch to hospital (let alone the more serious ramifications of that...) In one hospital people on respirators etc had to be hand ventilated. 
Roads were blocked. Fuel doesn't pump so people who needed petrol/gas couldn't get any...
Plus boom gates across railway crossings got stuck down and traffic lights all were out. The roads were very dangerous. You do not want to be on the road in a mass power outage. Avoid it at all costs!
WORSE you do not want to be out when a big storm hits.  People were stuck in elevators in department stores! EEK! (my worst nightmare!) 
Shops just shut their doors once the power went off.
000 (the same as 911 in the US) stopped working. Guess what? It has limited back up power then doesn't work. (Impressive) 
At this point... when roads are blocked, the phones are out, 000 doest work anyway etc you are on your own. If you could call for help it isn't coming anyway.
If you are not prepared you are crazy.
Last year I posted a weekly series on getting prepared. And I worked week by week on our own preparations plus all this year I have tried to keep building on it and our skills as well. 
This crisis was small really and short i.e. the worst was over in three days. 
I have a list of things I need to add to what we have. One thing is an electric hotplate or electric frypan.

Yesterday afternoon things had calmed down and I went to the store nearby. It is less than 1 kilometre away.  The stores shelves were empty in every section to do with power loss...
Here are the matches:

The torches (flashlights):

The candles:

People were asking staff if there were any out the back? (we all know the answer to that!) 
And when would they be coming in? (The answer was they had no clue)

You cannot buy these things when you need them. You must have them ready at home.

It's a wake up call and a good lesson.
The girls were ok. Chloe found out she needs cast iron cookware for the fireplace.
Lucy cooked risotto on the BBQ which I thought was pretty good since I find Risotto daunting in the best of circumstance! 

The weather is still very rough. I am treating this as a real life test of our preparedness and basically it has shown me that we need to keep going with this as boy do we ever depend on electricity a lot! 

Next year I think I will go back to a weekly preparedness post. 

To not be prepared when a crisis hits must be absolutely terrible. Get prepared as much as you possibly can.

Before the wheels fell off this is what I did towards my 100 day challenge:

Friday I cleaned and painted inside and around a window.
Saturday I cleaned under big cupboards that don't get moved.
Sunday I washed down a gate and fence ready to paint. I cleaned the fronts of my kitchen cupboards and sanded a door frame.
Monday I started painting a fence.
Tuesday I touched up paint in the kitchen. 

And you know the rest! 

How did you build up your nest this week?  I hope it was a good week for you! 

Tomorrow I have a special post that I hope is going to help us all fill our pantries, gift stashes and 
cleaning cupboards using very basic and inexpensive things along with stuff that we normally throw away!  I thought I was good at not wasting things but it turns out I have been terrible at it! 

Sorry for such a long post!  Thank you for all the messages and prayers. xxx


  1. Annabel, what a great post! I am so glad you have taken preparedness seriously and were prepared. I just bet there will be more who do after this event!

    1. Dear Patsy, There is a lot we will be doing. Already today we have replaced the fuel we used from the generator plus got another bottle of gas for cooking. But much more!
      First the clean up. Plus lots of areas are flooding this afternoon. Not us, we are ok, but many areas are in big trouble right now. Eek what a week! Thank you for all the ways you have helped me get ready for times like this! With love

  2. Annabel I am so pleased you weathered the storm okay. I knew you were well prepared. This year we had a preparedness thread going on the Down to Earth Forum so that everyone would know what to buy to prepare for just such an emergency. Of course here in Queensland most of those who live in the north of the state are always well prepared because of the regularity of cyclones but down south there has been absolutely terrible weather so far this year. I still need to find a suitable battery operated radio which I have been meaning to do for a while so I had better get cracking as it might be a bad year for storms. I do have a solar charger for my phone and iPad just in case.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      I think QLD is much more organised on this. I have followed the QLD preparedness website which is really good. I got my battery radio at target. Andy says it needs to be AM/FM digital. Anyway it was so helpful. Solar chargers are great. Have a good trip away! much love

  3. Hi Annabel, I am glad you are okay. Thank you for sharing. We need to be more prepared. Nancy

    1. Thanks Nancy. Yes we all do. We have had a whole town with out food and all kinds of things and it makes you aware how easily something can happen. A good learning experience for us! xxx

  4. Dear Annabel,
    We are so thankful you and your family are well and didn't suffer any serious damage.

    Thank you for sharing your personal prep experience with all of us. Preparedness is such a crucial part of life and survival. We never know when an event will arise where we need all the expertise we can get and have learned. I look forward to the weekly preparedness posts next year.

    This week I accomplished my five extra things per day, plus my regular theme day chores. The new system seems to be working really well for me and I am accomplishing a lot more each day.

    On my sewing day, I made two potholders and two hot pads to match our new kitchen d├ęcor. Today, was kitchen cooking day, so I cooked up all the meat and vegetables for meals for the weekend. I had to switch my shopping day and baking day around this week, so tomorrow will be shopping day, instead of baking day.

    Our Natural Grocers has $5 off a purchase tomorrow, if you've purchased a certain amount within the past week and we have. Hence, I needed to go shopping tomorrow to redeem the $5. I try not to let coupons or $ off go by the wayside; it all adds up.

    Have a blessed and wonderful weekend.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, Thank you so much. We were all very lucky.
      I love your five extra things a day tasks. You have been a big help to me preparedness wise. Very few people here even talk about preparedness. Other states do i.e. in QLD the government encourage it. It might get into the conversation more now.
      I love the sound of your pot holders and hot pads. I know your sewing is beautiful!
      Have a lovely weekend! With love

  5. Holy cow! Forgive my ignorance of your weather, but was that a hurricane? I grew up in Southern California so I learned how to prepare from earthquakes. I'm now prepared (I hope!) for Kansas tornadoes. But, I will absolutely watch for your posts on preparing. There's always room for improvement.

    Glad you're ok.

    1. Dear Debby,
      I just added a photo of the storm to the post. They are saying it was a non tropical cyclone although Im not really sure. It formed quite an eye in the centre when you looked at the pictures at different stages. Northern Australia gets major tropical cyclones but we are south so this is unusual.
      The pantry and preparedness posts from last year cover just about everything I could. I truly found doing something each week got us there and made a big difference. Tornadoes sound terrifying to me! I hope you don't have one near you! With love

  6. so glad you are safe and sound! Sounds like it was quite wild there for awhile. We have a couple of battery powered radios. We find them at sales because people don't want them anymore. They are a great thing to have. This post has been so informative!

    1. Dear Vickie,
      Thank you. We are going to watch for a couple more radios. They are invaluable. It was our way of hearing updates and advice and the best help. In a longer term emergency they would be worth more than gold I think! With love

  7. Dear Annabel, I am so glad to hear you are all okay and weathered this awful storm.
    I am taking notes from your post today. We can plan and think it all out in our head but a real life situation really puts our preparedness to the test! I also would have a meltdown being stuck in an elevator! Well done on your preparedness. Even if you found a few gaps, you were much better prepared than most! I often wonder if we can truly cover all of the bases. Something unexpected always seems to be a possibility, no matter how well we plan or prepare. Any preparation is better than none though!! We did not thankfully have the storm through here. Love, Kaye xo

    1. Dear Kaye,
      Thanks. I think a crisis is always going to be hard but home comforts (provided you can stay in the home) make it so much more bearable. And also possibly able to help others. Plus then we are not a burden on the already stretched system as we are getting on ok.
      I hope the weather there hasn't been too terrible. We had a break today and I got washing done and dry and rain is about to hit again.
      A way to eat food seems to be one of the biggest things that helped. But we learned a lot! With love

  8. This is such a good post. While reading it, I see there are many holes in my preparedness. I will be looking very hard at what we need to do. Paula in Kansas

    1. Dear Paula, Thanks you. Kansas makes me think of tornados. I think asses your risks and factor in closed roads and empty shops and communications down. These things change everything so fast! I can't tell you how good it was to feel ok we have everything we need, we are fine... very calming! With love

  9. Annabel with storm season approaching we have been checking on our emergency box and our preparedness. In Queensland the emergency services have a checklist you can print off to make sure you have a full plan and basic needs for three days survival, post weather event.
    You mentioned needing an electric hotplate to add to your preparation. We have a single gas hot plate that is run on small aerosol cans of gas. You can get these at Bunnings or in the camping section of Big W. We have this in the back of the car when we travel as it is so easy to make a cuppa. It packs away in a small plastic box, They're not that expensive but worth thinking about.
    I'm getting Bluey a wind up torch and radio for Christmas. It's something he mentioned when we were camping, that he thought would be a good back up to have in the van. A present for a difficult to buy for hubby checked off.
    We also have a baintec battery in the back of the car. It charges whilst the car is going but does not draw power off the car battery when the car is stopped. This runs our camping fridge and has usb charger points. We get 56 hours of use out of the battery before it runs flat.
    Your post has me thinking of what we need and what I can rethink and reuse in a different way. I'm also going to pull out my emergency box and check on use by dates and the state of batteries in torches and lanterns.
    Glad to hear you managed to get through this cyclonic storm and have tested out your preparedness successfully. We saw on the news how people were lining up for ages at fuel stations, post storm, and complaining about how hard it was to get fuel. I was seeing the weather warnings here in Queensland so knew you were in for a bad one. Filling up the vehicles and jerry's with fuel is one of the first things you should do.
    We had the tail end of the storm pass over us last night. We had a lot of lovely rain and it did get a bit windy, but nothing like you had to deal with. The storm did cool the place down. We had 28 degrees yesterday!
    Hope Andy's car is easily repaired and not too costly. Stay safe.

    1. Dear Jane,
      I have checked out the QLD gov site and I even joined the 52 week notices to get prepared. So I got an email per week of one task to do. Your gov is much better on preparedness than ours.
      I agree. If you have the warning getting a tank of fuel, fuel for generator etc is the first thing you do. The queues start to form fast. There are still queues here in some towns. I do not want to be waiting in lines for hours or days.
      I have never heard of the battery in the car that you mention. That sounds amazing. We will be looking into this!
      I will look into the gas hotplate also. Off to Bunnings for me I think. These are great tips thanks Jane.
      I hope you are having a good weekend. With lots of love

  10. Thankyou for a great post and encouraging us to be prepared. I thought of your advice as I heard the news of SA and hoped that my brothers family was just as organized now he lives in the town rather than on the farm. More room on the farm to be hoarders!

    1. Dear Barb,
      More room is in many ways handy for storage. Hopefully your brother having been a farmer is a very practical and capable type. That helps in any situation.
      A bit of a scare is a good thing in a way. I will get back into action now! With love

  11. Don't apologize for the length of this post. We all learn from one's own lessons learned. Great help in so many ways. We live on Guam and are under constant threat of instant weather disaster. It's wise to be prepared!

    *hugs*. Glad you folks are OK.

    1. Dear Kelley, I think I better read up on Guan and your weather and risks. It sound like you need to be on the ball.
      Thanks for your encouragement! With love

  12. Dear Annabel, thank you for taking the time to explain in detail all that happened. I am in WA and although I saw the news footage during the week I didnt give it much thought. How dreadful this week must have been for so many people. Glad you and yours well well positioned to ride out the storm and the aftermath. "Chance favours the prepared mind"" Julie D Pilbara WA

    1. Dear Julie, Thank you. I imagine you have had experience with cyclones and how scary they are. Down here we didn't think we needed to prepare for them!
      A lot of people are still doing it really rough now, mostly with flooding. We all all fine but I feel sorry for many areas. Now the crops of tomatoes, lettuce etc have all been lost too.
      Many thanks, with love

  13. Oh, thank the Lord you are all safe and well! I've surely been remembering everyone down there in my prayers.
    We have been adding extra things to our stock stuff as fresh batteries for our radio, large gallon jugs of water (more), another heavy-duty tarp, a cooking stove with propane, some canned milk.
    I've enjoyed learning so much from you, Annabel. You're right-it's crazy to wait until the shelves are empty to get necessities.
    Hopefully we won't get the earthquake that is predicted this next few days.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Mary,, I heard about that EQ prediction tonight. I don't think that in my 40+ yrs. in L.A., I ever heard them do that before. Kind of creepy. I went through my share with Sylmar, Coalinga, and Northridge, which was the absolute worst. I hope they're wrong.

    2. Dear Mary,
      Thank you and well done on what you have been doing lately. All really good and important signs to have.
      As Debby has said I also heard about that prediction which I thought was very unusual.
      I feel earthquakes are extremely frightening. I have only ever felt a small one i.e. a 3 and that was bad enough!
      It sounds like Debby has been though some. I hope this one does not eventuate! With love

  14. So glad that you and your family are all safe and sound. It must have been quite surreal, having such an event happen to really test and make use of your preparedness. Thank you for sharing your experience and learnings, very interesting and scary really... to think that 000 went down too! I need to go backover your preparedness series and seriously get my home & family more prepared. On another note, would it be possible to ask Glenda to share more about her "five extra things" and about her weekly routine... I love hearing about others routines and find it very helpful. Thanks again Annabel for your continued inspiration. Cheers, Kelly

    1. I am glad you are safe, Annabel. I second the idea of the 5 extra things. I'd love to hear more about it.

    2. Dear Kelly,
      Thank you! Yes it was awful about the emergency numbers. I kind of always knew that in a big emergency they can get too many calls to attend to. Which is a worry. But it has gone down here altogether twice in the last month!
      I will ask Glenda to elaborate on this! It is a great technique to add more to the day and achieve more.
      Cristy asked also (thank you Cristy!) so I am on to that!
      I think these things are a modification of doing a challenge. I love a challenge to get extra done. Inserting something extra into the day or month etc can be a real turbo charge! With love

  15. Amazing post Annabel. Reiterating all the other posts ... glad you're all safe etc etc.

    At work so can't type much. I think your post today would be worth printing out and making a check list.

    Fi xx

    1. Thank you Fiona! I hope really bad weather doenst come your way. We have a lot more rain coming now. With lots of love

  16. Dear Annabel, I'm so glad that you, Andy, Chloe and Lucy weathered the storm well. I have seen the pics on television. Poor Andy stuck. The traffic was horrendous from what I seen. You were sensible building up your cellar last year. Looking forward to what's coming in the future on your blog. Love Christine

    1. Dear Christine, Thank you! Yes at one stage the traffic was all stuck in the storm and people couldn't get home and the trains stood still at peak hour. IT was grid lock, no traffic lights etc. So dangerous.
      Thank you so much! With love

  17. Wonderful post Annabel. I think i will print it off. We are still without power from the storm, going into the third night. Hopefully it will be back soon because sa water are saying they will have to switch off mains water soon if power not restored.
    We have a small generator to charge phones and a battery to run tv.
    A small radio which has been essential for communications as mobiles have been intermittent and I am only getting Internet now (bluebirds was one of my first ports of call).
    Thankfully we have a wood stove for heating, hot water and some cooking. The camping gear has come in very handy, gas fridge and cooker, engel freezer run on solar so not too much food lost. We had plenty of candles and matches and food. I did line up for over 2 hours to get extra fuel for generator.
    It's very concerning for frail and aged at home. We are keeping an eye on a few friends.

    1. Power just restored! Yay!

    2. Dear Garden Del, I think you must be in the north somewhere but not sure what town... I am so glad you have power restored. I have a friend in Pt. Lincoln... that was bad, and Coffin Bay was terrible too. But I saw really all the north was out longer and some in the hills.
      It is a fair compliment that of all the catching up you had to do you came here! :) thank you!
      I hope things have settled down and you do not have flooding. Much more rain appears to be coming. We used to live in the Barossa and Gawler. My Dad had interests in Gawler River and Two wells... all flooded.
      Andy worked at Virginia for a few years... all flooded as well.
      Well doen on keeping an eye on others Yes many people are quite vulnerable to these times. With love

  18. What a life lesson in preparedness you shared here! Many people think of "prepping" as an end-of-time's catastrophe but really, it is a wise practice for TODAY! Glad your family fared well and thank you for sharing your experience. This is very helpful...

    1. Dear Jes,
      Thank you! Well I heard good advice that we should all assess our greatest risks and prepare for those. For some it will be tornadoes for others earth quakes etc. Ours turned out to be something we rally haven't had before! But really many preps will cover a lot of bases. I truly think we benefitted from the experience but we were so luck and others were not. So very grateful! With love Annabelxxx

  19. Dear Annabel,
    I'm grateful that you and your family got through the storm safely. Last night on our local news in our very small town in the U.S. they reported on and showed pictures of much of the devastation in Southern Australia, including the electric transformers that were blown down.

    After reading your post this morning I realize that there are a few things we need to do.Like get the portable radio now and an extra bottle of propane for the grill. While we have a gas run generator we recently purchased a generator (large battery) that can be charged electrically but also comes with solar panels to recharge it. It is suitable to use indoors and power the pellet stove for heat and keep everything in the freezer frozen. One thing I have found very useful is to can water. It only takes 5 minutes in a water bath canner.

    As far as nest feathering went this week, we did fall clean up in the vegetable garden and tilled in compost to get it ready for next year, froze two pounds of cauliflower, made 36 chocolate chip and dried cranberry scones, baked a pie with the last of the peaches in the fridge, made soup for the freezer and for lunches, worked on Christmas gifts. I'm looking forward to your special post tomorrow. And againI'm so grateful that you and your family are safe. Blessings. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, I was amazed how you saw pictures of our blown over transformers etc on your TV! At least you know Im not making this stuff up! haha I was shocked how this made world news!
      Canning water is a very good idea especially since we can have empty jars string around, they might as well be full of water!
      Yes the radio was essential. Plus batteries of course. That was really a major help.
      The solar power is a great thing. Actually anything with alternative sources of power to charge it is very good.
      Your cooking sounds beautiful. Great to get ahead on Christmas gifts and soup for the freezer. That was a very good week! With love

  20. Dear Annabel,
    Ok, this post had me on the edge of my seat! I am glad you and your family are ok.
    That is a HUGE area without power. 000 being down is a reminder that we can't always rely on other people for help. We have to be prepared ourselves! I think in those situations, the most dangerous thing could be the people who did not prepare. I would not want to be in any public place during an emergency or shortage of any kind.
    I hope you do a preparedness series next year. I learned a lot from this post alone! I had my husband read it and he immediately started thinking of things we needed to buy or improve on. We have a lot of the necessary materials, but it is like your flashlight situation. We need to be better at having things accessible, ready and working at a moment's notice. I like your idea of having a list or plan of attack. My mind would be going so many different directions that a list would really help me remember everything and stay calm.
    As for being stuck in an elevator, I am right there with you! I hate elevators! My husband looked at me when he read it would be your worst nightmare because it is mine too lol. I think I would have a heart attack.
    I am glad y'all are ok, and your home is ok too!
    With lots of love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      A really good idea is to sign up for free weather alerts in your state. We have them so I am pretty sure your would there. I get them emailed to me and to my phone. This means you at least can't have missed the warnings about storms or even advice for other events. It gives you time. Time is so valuable!
      A plan is so good. it helps you keep your cool and go about what needs doing. I would put getting fuels high ion that list and asap as queues start to form and things have sold out fast. It is good to allocate too and spread the work. You can then gets heaps done really quite quickly and avoid being in the shops or out and a bout when it starts to get dangerous. Or stuck in a lift!
      I will for sure be starting a series next year and we will go week by week but also do what you can think of now and build up your pantry etc as you can (which I know you are doing)
      I hope you are having a really lovely weekend! With love

  21. Annabel, So glad you all are safe. Your post is very informative.
    I'll be looking forward to reading your posts about how to be prepared and looking for a battery powered radio! :)

    1. Dear Laurie, Thank you. The radio and batteries are really good. We appreciate these in a new way now!
      Read my Preparedness posts from last year if you need reading as I posted weekly on this theme. I will re start for the whole of next year too. I have learned a lot since last year but gee it helped me get a lot done and learn as I went! With love,

  22. So sorry to hear of the power outage struggles, but I'm very happy you and yours came through so well. Thank you for sharing your experience! We're heading into winter here in the U.S. so I'm feathering my new nest warmly in anticipation of cold and possibly snow.
    I loved seeing your vanilla! A new friend came over this past week to help me split vanilla beans and learn to make her own vanilla extract. So simple yet so special as a gift! I sent her home with a small jar that she can shake and watch develop so she'll know how it looks week-to-week, and also a brown bottle she can use to store her vanilla once it's ready to use.
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh, I really love vanilla. I took the lid of this morning to have a sniff! Ahh its already smelling good! It is lovely you have met someone nice in your new location! And I bet she loved making the vanilla essence.
      Heading into winter in a new home would take some preparations especially when you haven't had time to build up a new pantry! I hope you go well with that! With love

  23. So glad you and your family are safe and sound. The water in our town went it this week, one morning we woke up and there was no water at all. Because of what I learned from you, I thankfully had a couple hugs of bottled water we could use to drink until it came back on, but then we were in a book alert for two more days. A small inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, but I have thought all week about what I can do to be more prepared for situations like this and the one you have described. So thankful, as always, for you and your willingness and passion to share wise tips!

    1. Dear Marie,
      Isn't it a shock how easily things can just change! I am so glad you had water! Be sure to re stock up too. It is amazing how many containers we have that are empty can can hold water. Several ladies also can water. If you have a cupboard full of jars they can be holding water. Also every space in the freezer have a bottle of water. If the power goes off your freezer will stay solid much longer if full but then you also have emergency water as well!
      Thank you so much for your encouragmenet. With love

  24. Dear Annabel,

    What a great post! I hadn't thought about the mobile transformers using electricity...makes a person think when we're all getting rid of our "land" lines.

    We live in a hurricane zone, but I have to admit that we aren't as prepared this year as we have been in past years, and we don't have a generator. We mostly tend to think of what we would do in a winter storm, merely from our past experience in northern Canada, but our biggest concern has always been about water, as we are on a well (which doesn't run without electricity!!)

    Much to think about and I am glad you are thinking about a weekly emergency preparedness post for next year.

    Off to scrape and paint deck boards before it gets any later in the day!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      Yes... I am suddenly seeing land lines in a new light. Mobiles being out was widespread here.
      A generator plus the fuel is a really good thing. Possibly you could get a hand pump of some kind? Not sure about that... Otherwise lots of water drawn up as a reserve in a small tank or rain barrels?
      It takes a lot but it makes so much difference and is reassuring.
      Thanks very much Jen, with love

  25. Annabel, I am so glad you weathered the storm and all are safe! Thank you for your lessons in preparedness. I'm realizing we have much to do here! Living in the Midwest of the US, we experience both snow storms and tornadoes. As we live in the country we do not hear the tornado sirens that go off in the cities in towns so we have a battery powered/electric weather radio which has served us well. For some of my teen years, I lived in California and experienced earthquakes, but tornadoes are my greatest fear of all, as well as being trapped in an elevator (and driving over bridges and heights and...!!!). I think my husband and I need to come up with a plan and ensure that we have the mechanical supplies that we would need. I think we would be okay food-wise and have many flashlights and candles. I pray that everyone in the areas that have been affected by the flooding soon are back on their feet. Take care, Jeanette

    1. Dear Jeanette, I don't blame you on fearing tornadoes! You have experienced a lot plus having snow as well. A way to cook is good. it sounds like you have the radio, food etc sorted. It is a lot to think about.
      Today I bought an electric fry pan as the generator doesnt run the stove or stove top. I have a gas BBQ outside. So now I could also use an electric frypan. That adds one more choice.
      We have a good day today with a new weather warning of much more rain! Cant believe it! With love

  26. Annabelle, So good to hear you and your family are all safe after this event. Also so good to read your comments about emergency preparedness; you are quite right, so many folks are just not prepared, don't think ahead and once the crisis is over just go back to normal life not learning any lessons. I will be taking your comments on board as part of my preparedness work. Blessings to you all.

    1. Thank you Barb. It is really interesting to hear of others real life experiences as I think this is where we learn a lot. I just never thought it would be me with one to tell!
      We are taking everything we learned out of it. Still the shops have no larger sized batteries, candles or torches etc. You sure do have to get all these things in the good times as they will not be available in a crisis!
      Many thanks! Love

  27. Dear Annabel, I'm happy you all got through the storm without too much damage. Yes being prepared is a great help but till you have had to deal with no power etc you are not sure how it will all work. Like you when we had the storms a year or so ago I didn't realise how valuable to battery radio would be and my batteries were flat and we could buy any at the shops as they sold out immediately. That has all been rectified now. I had heap of everything else. Knowing how to use things is another bonus and having them all ready to go. It all is a major learning curve for all of us. Be prepared just makes life so much easier.
    The vanilla is a great gift, I have also made vanilla paste too.
    Hope the weather is kind to you from now on, have a great weekend and take care. Debbie xx

    1. Dear Debbie,
      I am glad we have been able to learn as we go and I have been storing up batteries like mad for the same reason.
      You have made Vanilla paste!? If you have time to share how you did this please I would love to know.
      I hope you are having a lovely weekend. We have had a break in the weather... I washed and dried things... but now lots more rain is on the way which isn't good! With love

  28. Good morning Annabel so glad that you and your family came through OK. At least when you did go out to get something it wasn't everything.

    I have just seen some footage of the water rushing into Henly beach - the power is ferocious.And you have more wet weather on the way.

    Fishing will be no good until it all settles down again. What will Andy and the boys do instead? Perhaps some lessons on using tools in the shed?

    How did the farm go?

    I am sure that you are going to see many people who are having problems with lack of food (the trucks are going to find it hard to get through) etc over the coming days.

    We have already seen the blame game started on the news. Not the time boys - get things back to where it should be then start that, if you must.

    I worked in the shop yesterday - Sunshine Coast Arts and Crafts - google it and a Facebook page should come up that you can have a look at. Let me just tell you that some of the prices you have quoted are low, even accounting for the shops percentage that is kept to run the business.

    Grand final weekend so I need to sort out my knitting and find something that isn't too complicated to do.

    Have a great weekend everyone



    1. Dear Lynette,
      This weekend isn't a fishing weekend but next one is so hopefully things will be much better by then!
      We have a lot more rain on the way...
      I will look up the Arts and Crafts place, thank you. I find it really interesting to know what prices people are charging.
      We watched the Grandfinal. It was so exciting. hard to knit or crochet by!
      Things at the farm are fine. They love the rain. It is north that the flooding is a problem and there is a lot of that. The market gardens have been wiped out.
      Much love and thanks,

  29. Annabel,
    This is a wonderful post you know I'm all about preparedness LOL! I am so glad that you and your family are all safe and well. When things finally hit they hit fast and so many people run around like chickens to get what they need. My family teases me about all of the things I carry in my purse, but the worst thing for me about getting stuck in an elevator would be if I had to pee. Can you imagine that a gross old piece of hard candy that has been in your purse for a year and covered with lint would be comfort food! LOL On that note there are so many small things that can be done that all add up! I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      Yes I do and you have helped me a lot with it!
      And yes running around like a crazy chicken doesnt help! Actually many were like angry chickens!
      Oh my goodness you will give Kelsey nightmares and I never thought about what if you got stuck in an elevator and had to got to the toilet! haha not funny but trust you to think of this!
      Have a great new week Vicky... I can't stop laughing about the candy with the lint stuck to it... Love

  30. Hi Annabel, glad you are safe and sound after the big storm. I was thinking of you and hoping all your work preparing for emergencies paid off. I would love if you did some preparedness posts next year. I really enjoyed reading them last year. I find this topic fascinating and they really encouraged me to get my pantry and emergency supplies stocked up, but I have been a bit slack with that this year.
    Marge xoxo

    1. Dear Marge,
      Thank you for telling me this, I am going to do the posts next year as I have so much information and ideas and much of it is from what has happened and what is still going on here. Just do something every week that you think you need and then we will do a week by week project from January. Many thanks, with love

  31. solar hot water is always good to have i think, & any extra panels you can afford, power black out you can still have a shower

    glad you're all safe & well

    thanx for sharing

    1. Dear Selina,
      Thank you very much. We have solar panels going on this month and then we plan to add a battery for storage. I can't wait as it will be another thing we have done to improve our situation! With love

  32. Dear Annabel, I am so glad you are all safe and well. That was certainly an unexpected turn of events in your part of the world, and who could have predicted that outcome! We've weathered some hair raising storm activity where we live in the sub-tropics, and things like pantry staples, breadmaking machines, camping ovens and portable gas burners and barbecues, battery operated lanterns, batteries themselves, toilet paper, dog food, candles, matches, tarpaulins, solar camping showers, and hand operated washing machines are always in high demand when disasters occur. One year, we had nearly a week with power blackouts and food shortages due to flooding, and the shelves were empty of all of those things. I'm sure many of your readers may also have had to evacuate and live in temporary accommodation, and that's an eye opener of a whole new kind. We've only ever had to do it once, but it brings new meaning to the idea of creature comforts. Your posts on preparedness have certainly paid off, not just for you, but for many of us I think. I agree that this is just an indicator of what CAN happen, and a real wakeup call for what may yet be on the horizon. You've done so well, and what an oasis of calm your home must have been in all the chaos. Much love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, I think overall QLDers are much better prepared and experienced. But everyone needs to be. How fast things can change! Some of what happened here has really shocked people like HOW COULD all the back ups fail and a major hospital have no power etc. Some rule awful things happened. Many people were quite heroic and saved lives by their quick thinking.
      Now many crops are wiped out and we have more flooding I think as it is raining again.
      Well onwards and upwards, there is a point to being prepared! I am so glad we were in fairly good order but I went and got an electric frypan today as the generator would run that where it won't run the stove. A few more things to improve on!
      Evacuation must be just so scary! An eye opener is probably an understatement! With love

  33. Hi Annabel, I'm so glad to hear you and your family are all safe and coping well. From the news reports we are hearing in Sydney, the bad weather isn't over just yet.
    The empty shelves don't surprise me -even a long weekend here seems to send people scurrying to the stores.
    I'll bet you're glad now you've made the decision to have solar panels installed. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd be really interested to hear about the battery storage aspect once you've had a chance to use the system.
    Best wishes and stay safe,

    1. Dear Janine, Thank you! The speed that shelves empty is actually mind blowing. But the time a crisis starts they are already empty. We need the things to be on hand that is for sure.
      I will share about the solar and battery. It is quite complex and things are developing and batteries are improving but basically we have found here at least solar power needs electricity from the grid to operate. So if the power goes off so does you solar! Unless you go off grid entirely... now we are checking into if we have battery storage can we use that if the grid is down... and its not hard to get answers... we had four reputable lots through the whole house and got different answers. But we hope to be up and running within the month so I will share as I learn. Many thanks Janine, with love

  34. Dear Annabel,

    I am glad you survived the storm so well.

    I just wanted to let anyone in Australia know that from mobiles you can call 112 instead of 000 as well and it will connect you to the emergency line using any network that is available e.g. Telstra even if you are on Optus. Obviously not so useful in this case but it may help someone else in the future.

    Also a word of warning about gas cylinders. We have a camping stove and cylinders stored downstairs and we discovered that they deteriorate when I woke up in the middle of the night and the house was full of gas. I roused all the adults and we went running around the house trying to find a leaking pipe as we have gas here. Eventually we checked the cylinders downstairs and the first one that was picked up started fizzing and we immediately took them all out to the garden and disposed of them as soon as possible. The gas was so close to getting into the children's bedroom we decided it was too much of a risk to keep the cylinders at all.

    By the way I have been stuck in a lift for a couple of hours and it's not fun at all, especially when it turns out the emergency buzzer doesn't work!

    Stay safe,


    1. Dear Allie,
      Thank you I never knew about that number. I will put it into my phone to try incase of a fail.
      I keep hearing this same thing.. i.e. your emergency lift buzzer not working. So many emergency back ups just didn't work here.
      We keep the gas in our shed and not in the house and I think this is a good idea. Gas worries me like that so thank you for that advice.
      I will tell my daughter actually as she has a cylinder for emergencies also. Many thanks, love

  35. Dear Annabel, I, too, am so thankful you and your family were safe and well prepared! These are very important lessons. We had 3 tornadoes touch down 60 or so miles from us last week! Not very common for where we live. There was lots of damage but no serious injuries or deaths.

    Again, thank you for sharing your experience, and for all the comments. I continue to learn so much!
    Have a good week. Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      Thank you! I did not know about those tornados and three in a week! I am glad they were not too near you. It does shake things up and make you think how this is real and can happen! Have a good week Teri! With love

  36. Well! You've certainly got me thinking! A few years ago we had a hurricane off the gulf coast and we were in it's path as it moved oceanward once more. Even though we live 350 miles from the beaches this is not uncommon! It was the lack of electricity that was most upsetting. I got a gas stove shortly after and that meant we'd be able to cook and make coffee and boil water. I keep a decent supply of water in storage. A few years before it was sleeting and snowy several weekends in a row which meant power loss. We purchased a ventless propane heater and so now we have heat for those winter storms. It's all something to think on. I am lobbying for a generator but since our outages are rare it's not seen as an absolute necessity at this time. Here's what I did to save this past week:


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